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A Few Things I’ve Learned…

Hey there! This is a blog related to formatting and the many pitfalls of self-publishing a paperback version of your precious creation: aka your book!

I’m not a computer whizz by any means and learning how to deal with formatting has been stressful more than it’s been helpful.

I’m hoping to settle a few issues, but I’m not saying I’m a leading expert or anything. This is just to pass out a few helpful hints that I’ve picked up.

Beginning with layout of a book, which applies for Kindle too:

I use microsoft word, so all of this applies to that program…

When writing a draft I basically just use the main points of a book layout.

toolbar-word with pointers
Using the menu and tool bar

 

These are as follows:

  • font is Times New Roman
  • font size is 12 for the writing (I do use 20 for titles)
  • Text is justified, which gives crisp, clean edges
  • Using footer in the insert tab to place page numbers on the bottom of each page, centralised, which is my preference
  • For each chapter break, I insert a page break, found on the top menu bar under insert tab
  • under the home tab, there is a paragraph section, click on to find the menu. There are several options, but I use indentation and special to insert after the first line. This is to avoid indentation for the first paragraph on each new chapter
  • Under home tab, and same paragraph section, go to line spacing and I generally choose 1.5, and tick the box for no spaces between paragraphs of the samer style to avoid bulky gaps between paragraphs that just looks odd to the eye

paragraphs
point of reference for paragraphs and spacing

When you need to format for a paperback it can get complicated, mainly when it comes to sorting out margins. Createspace does give information relating to this issue, but I’ve found this to be unhelpful when it comes to having my files reviewed by createspace. I went to the forums to get more information and eventually rectified this issue.

The details for margins through createspace are as follows (and does usually work for smaller works, such as novella length):

  • page layout set to 6×9 inches apply to whole document
  • page layout-custom margins-format both gutter and inside/outside margins
  • gutter margins should mirror each other-apply to whole document
  • setting gutter margins larger is fine, but not any smaller

Page margins as set by createspace:

  • 24-150 pages – .375″
  • 151-300 pages – .5″
  • 301-500 pages – .625″
  • 501-700 pages – .75″
  • 701-828 – .875″

word margins
Click on custom margins for setting your own preferences

 

As I’ve already stated above, this did not work for me when formatting a larger work, so I actually used: 2.4cm for the inner margin and 2cm for the outer margin. This was for a book of 295 pages.

If in doubt, I’d suggest checking out other printed books in a similar genre and measure those margins for a reference. I’ve had to play around with mine and do about 20 PDFS (might be a slight exaggeration there…) to get the right set-up that createspace require. Createspace also put their measurements in inches, but word will automatically adjust that for you to cm’s, if applicable.

Formatting is a confusing process at times. I’d never want to put anyone off publishing a paperback version of their book. I’d just suggest research and plenty of patience!

I’ve found the forums on createspace very helpful as they are usually done by people with direct experience of self-publishing.

The other piece of advice I would give is when formatting the final draft, do the margins first, and always check and double check your work to avoid any further issues.

There is no way I will have answered every question that comes up when formatting, but I hope this goes a little way to helping.

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